There has been so much to say about the video in Spring Valley High showing the child who was brutally assaulted by a school resource officer that went viral this week. I just recently saw a video of newscaster Brenda Woods of 11 Alive in Atlanta response to the incident in her “Last Word” segment. If her ‘cake by the pound’ makeup and crusty braids weren’t bad enough, what she had to say was even worse. In the video, she asserts that the ‘bigger picture’ that nobody is talking about is how ‘disrespectful’ children are and how we don’t know what she said before the incident to start it:
The week of Sandra Bland’s death and my subsequent post got quite a few hits. I actually got reblogged by the actor Jesse Williams on tumblr which was pretty cool. Afterwards, came the bombardment of images, videos and speculation. Normally, I don’t follow hearsay when it comes to cases like these until I get all the facts, but I’m only human and got caught up in the moment. There were so many allegations going around, I thought I was following the Bill Cosby case for awhile. Needless to say, it took a mental toll on me.
I try to be informative and write posts that change hearts and minds. I want people to understand the movement black lives matter and what racial inequality exists, however I want to be fair and balanced and not throw out accusations like I see most people, even some of your favorite activists do from time to time. Walking this fine line can be rather difficult sometimes…
Attempting to change minds and hearts is the worst because some people just don’t get it not do they want to get it. Others get it but are afraid to speak out. Sometimes I feel like a lone wolf out there fighting for justice in a world full of ignorance; I wouldn’t do myself the disservice of only speaking to people who agree with me like I see most activists do on Black Twitter, however the alternative is so mentally exhausting. In addition, how do I display my love for black issues without coming off aggressive and combative. I took a mental break these last few weeks to get my head together. I think I’ve gotten a balance and I can give you a few easy steps in helping you.
1. Step Away From Your Social Media
I can’t stress this Enough. Stepping away was the best thing for me. I was able to relax, go to the park and clear my head. I was able to prioritize things in my head including my personal life and goals with my activism which was a big concern for me…
2. Choose your battles
There are so many injustices happening towards black and brown people everyday that it’s hard to keep up with some days. As sad and foul as it is, you can’t champion every single issue that comes across your timeline or newsfeed. Think of yourself as an editor of a newspaper, things you care about this most should be the things you post or retweet. You’re only human, you can’t cover it all. There are people who get paid to do that.
3. Some People just aren’t going to get it
Some people just aren’t going to get it. It’s as plain as that. You can preach until you’re blue in the face, they aren’t not going to get it. You shouldn’t waste your time debating or arguing with them. Someone who believes racism nor police brutality exists, no matter how many black and brown men/women get killed, doesn’t deserve your time. Allow them to live in their blissful ignorance.
4. Find distractions
For the past few weeks, all I posted on Facebook was funny videos that made me laugh. Not only did it warm my heart, it was a balance to all the crap that was going on at the time. Sometimes you need to laugh and escape. We, as a black race have been doing it for a long time. Read a book, meditate, go spend time with friends or fam and remember there is a world outside of social media.
5. Keep hope alive
You have to stay strong during these times. Going to work with people who don’t understand how you feel to seeing friends at home who just don’t seem to care, you sometimes loose hope. You can’t though. Everybody has their part to play in this huge movement. Whether you retweet a story or are on the front-lines, you are somebody in the bigger picture.
Those are a few of my tips/steps. If you have any, please feel free to share in the comments…
So I know many of you have seen the video of Black Lives Matter activists in Massachusetts speaking to Hillary Clinton. The activists asked Hillary specially what changed in her heart and mind about issues surrounding mass incarceration and police brutality and how she had evolved on this issue. She in return asked them what they hope to achieve as a movement. They couldn’t answer and said it was up to her to help change the minds of mainstream America, they can’t do it themselves. Hillary responded to this by educated the protestors on having a platform with specific action they wanted. I actually agree with her on this. We can’t change everybody’s heart and mind. There’s a vast majority of American’s who don’t understand Black Lives Matter and some who don’t want to understand. Although I agree that changing hearts and minds could affect change long term in a few, we have to be honest with ourselves. We can’t change everyone and the ones who are are on top, aren’t trying to hear that argument. Politicians don’t operate with their hearts and minds and we’d be a fool to believe they ever will, they need talking points and things that they can sell in the few seconds of news camera time that they receive.
I couldn’t help but be embarrassed that we had no specific political legislation or laws that we wanted passed. I went on blacklivesmatter.com and saw no national platform and no real concrete demands besides body cameras. We can’t allow people to craft laws for us, we have to step it up and demand these ourselves. I’m speaking on the national, regional and local levels. Interrupting rallies and town hall meetings is fine, but if you have nothing behind it to stand on, then why are you even speaking up. I know this movement is new for us and we’re still organizing, but an old 72 white lady shouldn’t have to tell you how to run your organization and what you need to do to be heard. Ideologically, Black Lives Matter stands for something amazing but the world of politics is a different beast.
Let’s take a page from the LGBT activists. One thing I can say about them is that they’re organized and always have a plan. They fought the issue of gay marriage not just with hearts and minds, but with pen and paper. Behind the scenes in Hollywood, shows like Modern Family and Glee allowed middle America to see members of the LGBT community in their homes everyday. Writers created characters who dealt with issues targeting the gay community like adoption and marriage equality. Simultaneously, LGBT activists canvassed communities in several states educating people on LGBT issues including gay marriage. On the legislation side, They fought laws and policies all the way to the supreme court and got gay marriage passed. They attacked in on all fronts and that’s what Black Lives Matter needs to do if they want to be heard and understood.
I’m not accusing anybody of anything, this is just an honest critique so we can move forward. Black Lives Matter has the momentum now, I would hate to see it wasted by just rhetoric, talk and idle marching. People are only going to change so much, we see this with the recent events at the 1 year anniversary of Mike Brown. A year later and the police are still racist, still overly militarized, still assholes. We need laws in place to help combat and undo systematic racism. You can check a few of my posts to see some laws I want to see passed. I’m a supporter of Black Lives Matter and want to see it to far, however we need to step our game up.
TO see the full video of the Black Lives Matter activists exchange with Hillary Clinton, click here.
We’ve all heard it before, every time you see Black Lives Matter some moron (hello Raven Symone) decides they feel left out and decide to use to trivial phrase ‘All Lives Matter.’ While all free thinking and good will people know that ‘All Lives Matter,’ the police in this country think otherwise. I’m not sure how many black women and men have to be murdered by police officers for people to see that police brutality is a serious issue that disproportionately affects black people. At least 304 black people were killed by the police last year. Black people are 5x more likely to be killed by the police than white people. This is a specific issue that needs specific reform.
Gone are the days where I solely vote on a candidate because they are the lessor of two evils. Gone are the days where I vote democrat just because it’s what black people do. As a African-American male, if you’re not speaking on issues that affect my community in detail, i refuse the right to vote for you. The Democratic Party has used and abused the black vote for too long. None of the three democratic candidates, Hillary, Bernie or Martin have made racial justice a top priority in their campaign. This needs to change and our voices need to be heard for once. I’m sick of racial issues being ignored while our communities continue to be grossly affected. Who will be the first candidate to rise up and unapologetically say “Black lives matter?”
Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley had a chance to engage Black Lives Matter protestors at a Netroots Nation conference in Arizona. They fumbled almost every question asked to them, with Bernie Sanders completely ignoring the issue. Granted, Mass incarceration and prison reform have come up as footnotes but racial justice as a whole needs to be addressed. Personally, I want a candidate who is well versed on issues of race and how it affects almost every system in our country. Barack has done a great job in his second term brining discussions of race to the forefront and whomever is in office needs to continue this discussion , frankly and in greater detail. Democrats have historically ignored black issues except when it could get them a vote. Bill Clinton was loved by black americans, yet passed one of the most discriminatory criminal justice bills this country has ever seen. This cannot happen again. Cases like Tamir Rice, Sandra Blunt, Rekia Boyd, Natasha McKenna, and Jordan Davis need to be heard and addressed. Black Lives Matter. We now have a voice and a community that cannot and will not be silenced.
Dear future candidates,
If you want my and many other votes, you WILL discuss police brutality, mass incarceration, the war on drugs, mandatory minimums, sentencing laws, prison reform, raising minimum wage, bringing jobs back to the inner cities etc. These are not just black issues, but American issues that just happen to disproportionately affect people of color. Every American needs to be educated on issues that affect people of color because we’ve been hiding in the shadows for too long.